South Fork Natural History Museum

South Fork Natural History Museum in Southampton, New York by Rogers Marvel Architects

A relatively recent, cultural building type, nature museums attempt to reconcile man's relationship to nature, ironically, through the construction of structures imposed upon nature and inhabited by nature remade. Ideally these museums become laboratories for aiding man in building/living as a part of nature, both in their designs and their functions, such as educating the public on natural processes at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Chicago. 

A soon-to-be addition to this building type is The South Fork Natural History Museum and Nature Center, currently under construction in Southampton, New York by the NYC firm Rogers Marvel Architects.

The museum will utilize an existing agricultural building along with the new structure to become a "physical marker at the line between the man-made and natural environment", due to its siting at a trail head for adjacent, protected lands. Contained within these two structures will be exhibit space, teaching facilities, offices, meeting space and "naturalist archives". The form and siting of the museum reveal a sensitivity to the landscape and the ideals of the Museum.

Similar to the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, at Southampton the museum extends itself beyond the walls of the building proper. Quoting the architect, "Every aspect of the facilities and grounds are designed to provide a directly referential and interactive experience, providing an understanding of the complex relationship between man and the environment." How effective the design accomplishes these goals remains to be seen, though in these sketches it is clear the architect is subverting the architecture (or its image) to the powerful images of nature.